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Foreign skeet coach abandons Indian shooters before Olympics

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New Delhi, Feb 27, 2021-
Italian skeet coach Ennio Falco will not train Indian shooters preparing for this year’s Olympic Games as he has joined the Qatar national squad, an official of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) said on Saturday.

Falco, 52, a former Olympic champion, had put in his papers in August 2020 as his request to have a say in the national team selection was rejected. The NRAI had declined his request on the grounds that it clashed with its policy of selecting shooters on the basis of ranking points.

“Since he was a good coach, the NRAI persuaded him to reconsider his decision. We wanted him to stay till the Olympics in July-August. Now, he has joined the Qatar team, so there is no chance of his re-joining India,” an official familiar with the development told IANS.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo.

The NRAI was hoping that Falco would join the national team in February, ahead of the ongoing shotgun World Cup in Cairo, Egypt.

Keeping in mind the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, Falco’s contract, which had ended in August 2020, was extended till September 2021. As per his contract the 1996 Olympic champion from the Italian city of Capua, was getting 600 Euros (approximately Rs.53,300) per day for 160 days in the year (Rs.84,80,000).

“He also wanted a raise. The issue was also being discussed with him,” said a source.

Falco had been associated with the national team for six years. “He helped raise an overall standard of the skeet discipline in the country,” said a shooter.

The shooters have earned 15 quota places, two of them in shotgun (skeet) for the Olympics.

Quota places go to countries, not to shooters.

India has won skeet quota through Punjab’s Angadvir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan from Uttar Pradesh.

Bajwa’s personal coach is Norway’s Tore Brovold while Khan and other top shooters were training with Falco. “Right now, getting another coach isn’t possible as everyone is busy. But we will appoint a new coach after the Olympics for next four years,” said the NRAI official. (Agency)

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